For the last couple of years, bluebirds have been regular residents here at Happy Acres. I knew when we first moved here that it was prime habitat for them, with plenty of grassy, open areas. We saw our first bluebirds in December of 2009, but it was last year before they actually built a nest in one of the nest boxes. Since then there has been a lot of bluebird activity here, and that is a welcome thing indeed.
Last year they built three nests, with the last eggs hatching on July 16. This year they got an early start, and they have managed to build four nests, though the eggs from the third one never hatched. If outside temperatures get above 100°F, the percentage of bluebird eggs that hatch can drop considerably. With daytime temperatures that peaked in the 105-108°F range for almost a week near the end of the incubation period, none of those five eggs hatched, despite a lot of attention from the adult bluebird pair.
After that third clutch failed to hatch, the pair eventually gave up on the eggs, and I cleaned out the nest box. But in late July, the pair built a 4th nest, and the female started laying more eggs. Last week, all four eggs hatched, and the parents are busy keeping the young birds fed. Having a 4th bluebird nest in one year is a rare thing indeed, and it is safe to say this bluebird pair has been very busy in 2012!
Here is a timeline for the bluebird activity in 2012, with the significant events noted. There are links to photos with some of the events:
- 3/12 1st nest finished
- 3/22 5 eggs in 1st nest
- 4/6 eggs all hatched
- 4/22 birds all fledged
- 5/1 2nd nest finished with 1 egg
- 5/5 5 eggs in 2nd nest
- 5/20 eggs all hatched
- 6/10 birds all fledged
- 6/18 3rd nest finished with 5 eggs
- 7/11 3rd nest abandoned, nest box cleaned out
- 7/31 4th nest finished with 1 egg
- 8/3 4 eggs in 4th nest
- 8/16 eggs all hatched
We occasionally see some of the young bluebirds hanging out with their parents. There have been almost two dozen of them hatched in the last two years, so I know some of them are out there. Last Christmas several of them posed for a family portrait of sorts. It made for a happy Blue Christmas, and now we are enjoying a happy August as once again we get to witness the miracle of birth and life in nature – bluebird style.
I’ll close by wishing all of you a happy August too!